This lecture shall provide a normative appraisal of the law of military occupation by looking into occupation courts and their legitimacy. It will focus on two cornerstones of the current regulation of armed conflicts: the principle of equality of belligerents, i.e., the potential relevance of jus ad bellum considerations on the in bello rights of occupiers, and the normative force of the traditional distinction between states and non-state armed groups, especially in conflicts of non-international character. Against the predominant neo-classical position in contemporary just war theory, it will argue in favour of the moral equality of just and unjust occupiers. Against the orthodox position in international law, it shall advocate the symmetrical treatment of states and non-state actors fighting non international armed conflicts, at least in terms of the rights they may claim on the territories under their control. It will conclude by appraising the way in which this moral landscape should be translated into legal norms.
Alejandro Chehtman is Associate Professor of Law at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and Fellow of the Argentine National Research Council (CONICET). His main research areas are International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law, with a special interest in philosophical issues. Alejandro Chehtman studied Law at the University of Buenos Aires, and did his MSc in Political Theory and his PhD in Law at the LSE. His work has appeared in Legal Theory, the Stanford Journal of International Law, the Journal of International Criminal Justice, and Law and Philosophy among other journals. He is the author of The Philosophical Foundations of Extraterritorial Punishment (OUP, 2010) and is currently working on a monograph on a Theory of Asymmetrical Conflicts, under contract with Oxford University Press.